Your little Sugar Plum or Mouse King is going to accumulate a baker’s dozen anthropomorphic nutcrackers—a common merde (good luck) gift—for each year he or she performs in Tchaikovsky’s bulletproof ballet. Standing out in the wooden, white-bearded crowd is Bob the Joffrey Monskey ($30, keychains $10), a special edition of the popular Japanese collectible that’s adorably Rotofugly. Spin his head around to mismatch the Mouse King’s mug with the Prince’s body, and vice versa. Available at the Joffrey Ballet box office, 10 E Randolph St (312-739-0120). Its Nutcracker runs December 10–26 at the Auditorium Theatre.
Warm hands, warm heart
Is your honey suffering a frosty welcome from her ballet barre or yoga studio floor? Got a friend at work who’s forever cursing her frigid cubicle? Local designer Jen Moran’s Cintya hand warmers ($32 a pair) are made in Bolivia from 100 percent organic alpaca wool; proceeds alleviate poverty and go toward community-strengthening programs in the developing world. Available online at greenolastyle.com.
’Tis the season to have a ton of cards on hand. During your next trip north, get a few extra Papercuts ($4.50 each) to stash in a desk drawer. Designed and created by 13-year-old Wilmette resident Paige Eckensberger, these cards are dance themed but not season specific, so you can use them for thank-yous in January and merde wishes on opening nights. Available at Allegro Dance Boutique, 2114 Central St, Evanston (847-733-8460).